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3 Different types of management styles in the workplace

March 13, 2019

Leaders are confronted with a number of different management situations throughout their careers, and how they choose to handle these varying circumstances depends on their management style.

Conflict resolution, for example, can be approached in many ways. A manager might make a decision that he believes will quell the conflict withoult including the employees in conflict. Or, in another scenario, a manager could act as mediator, bringing the two employees together to help them come to a resolution on their own. Each approach is wholly dependent on who you are as a manager, what your management style is and the employees you are working with.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to management—it’s all situational. But understanding the difference between the many different types of management styles, and how certain employees respond to them, will make you a more effective leader.

The root of all types of management styles: autocratic and permissive
A management style is the method of leadership used by a manager. At the root of management styles are two distinct approaches: autocratic and permissive. An autocratic management style is one in which the leader makes decisions unilaterally without including employees in decision-making. A permissive management style, on the other hand, is one in which the manager allows employees to participate in decision-making. Permissive managers generally allow a considerable degree of autonomy to employees completing day-to-day work tasks. These two contrasting management styles serve as the foundation for how all other management styles are approached.

Recently, the permissive management style has won-out. In fact, according to a report from Wharton School of Business, the digital age has made the permissive approach more alluring to managers because employees are more apt to want to feel a part of the decision-making process and will return that feeling with engagement and creativity.

But depending on scenario, some managers find the autocratic management style more effective. The management style you take may depend on the specific situation, type of work you are managing or personality of your employees.

And from these sprout even more different management styles.

Moving beyond autocratic and permissive management styles
Once you understand that you will approach a management situation either autocratically or permissively, you have some leeway to expand on your approach. Take stock of the situation and experiment—you’ll know which approach is right based on feedback from your employees and the business outcome.

Here are a few types of management styles to try:

Democratic management style
As its name suggests, a democratic management style invites employees to get involved in making decisions. Democratic management involves extensive communication from both managers and employees. This management style can be particularly useful when various specialized skills are needed to complete a project. Because everyone is given the chance to participate and exchange ideas, people can showcase their specialties and add to the outcome of the project from ideation through to completion. Democratic management can only be successful when decision-making processes are streamlined and managed properly.

Persuasive management style
Persuasive management styles share characteristics with autocratic management. Persuasive managers control all decision-making, but they spend more time with employees than a purely autocratic leader. Instead of working behind a closed office door, for example, a persuasive manager is in the meetings and on the sales floor doing the work alongside his employees (even if he is calling the shots). This on-the-level approach allows managers to lead by example, and helps employees understand the benefits of their manager’s decisions. Persuasive managers are not necessarily more inclusive of their employees when it comes to decision-making, but they tend to be more aware of the work they are doing.

Laissez-faire management style
A laissez-faire manager is seen as more of a mentor than a manager. With laissez-faire management, employees are empowered to take charge and managers take a backseat role so that employees can flourish creatively.

Management styles may need to be adjusted based on the amount of guidance and support required, and a good manager is one that is able to adjust her management style to suit the needs of her employees. Managers should be willing to delegate tasks when needed, aid when help is requested and tell employees what needs to be done when appropriate. The best managers are able to harness many management styles and deploy the appropriate approach as different types of situations arise.

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